I Have a Ticket!
September 27 2019
So it’s the start of the rugby season and in the not too distant future my son is getting married. Out of the blue, I get a call from the stag organisers saying the plan is to spend the weekend in Bristol and travel up to Gloucester on the Saturday for the London Irish game. Would I like to come?
Really! A stag do, at my age? Actually, he was only inviting me to the game. Phew! Great I though I have a brother in Stroud and let’s make a day of it with the hangover brigade.
We arrived at the ground and the stag group were already in the pub across the road from Kingsholm. I had not bought a ticket yet so went and queued. Why could I not see any green shirts anywhere? Once with ticket I joined the crew and we made our way into the shed. My son’s ticket had been super-sized and it was hilarious watching him and the stewards try and let him in. They played a long and he got in.
Moving to the end of the shed it was virtually full in fact looking at the ground the whole stadium was well populated. We saw a bit of space at the far end in the shade (it was quite a warm day) and made our way past the cherry and white shirts. Where was the green? I felt like I was the only one in green as the eyes watched us troop past! So, mis-quoting Delia Smith “Where were yer!” Looking around the ground I counted 10 green shirts. (Sure to now get loads of responses, “I was there” … but if you were, you were hard to spot).
So, to the rugby. Looking at the teams I did not recognise many of the Glaws side so was optimistic beforehand. I liked our mix of seasoned/trusted, youthful backs and some newbies. The bench looked strong too.
They kick off .. and for the first 20 minutes or so nothing really happens we exchange two penalties and they have most of the possession since we kept fumbling so we were thinking same old same old but … after conceding a try something got ignited and there was no stopping us. Regulation driving maul from a throw in front of us sees McMillan go over and then straight from the kick off, a catch and run from Albert down the line sees a great inside pass to George Nott who has the speed and power to get over the line. Four minutes later and McMillan has another one. This is looking good! Slight downer at the end of the half in that they get one back but at half time 22-15 to us.
At the start of the second half we concede only for Steele to get the first of his three almost straight away. Now the changes were made. Paddy Jackson comes on … not a titter … all around us were saying Paddy who? (educated lot in the west country) But if that is the case long may it continue. He pops one conversion over and scuffs another and the worst abuse he got was “Eeyor”. The other moment of play to mention was an electric run from Ben Loader which lead to a try from Gilsenan.
We ended 49-29 to the good and a great game to boot. Was it, men v boys? Some of the Glaws fans commented so and thought we clearly did not have an academy! I smile thinking I would ignore and not rebuff with “You are right they are playing for Bath!” (Ignoring the fact of the starting back 3, Ben and Rory.) Unfortunately, rather than rejoicing in the silent smile, one of the crew asked whether it was in the rules of the competition that you had to only use academy players.
Positives from the game was the defence, they struggled to break the gain line and were constantly pushed backwards. In fact, most of their points came from our mistakes. Nott looks good, strong and fast for a second row and with McMillan looked like they had been playing for us for years. Scott, Blair and Smyler were Mr Consistent as usual and Ben was electric. Not sure the starting back three had as much space. As a whole I would give the MoM to George Nott who I think will prove to be a great addition.
Loved my first visit to Kingsholm and left it happy leaving the drunken bums to continue with their stag weekend!pqs: qs:
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